‘Vulnerable’ Veterans Bedridden By Veterans Affairs Wheelchair Repair Failures
A recent VA OIG report found “vulnerable veterans” experienced physical hardships including confinement to a bed due to a massive Veterans Affairs failure in VISN 7 to properly schedule and complete repairs to power wheelchairs and scooters.
IG investigated eight VA medical centers in VISN 7 using a statistical sample of power wheelchair and scooter repairs. The analysis estimated that 40 percent of veterans seeking repairs experienced delays averaging over two months for repairs. As a result of the delays, some veterans experienced documented hardship.
Prosthetic Service managers failed to ensure timely repair of VA-issued power wheelchairs and scooters. Officials in Prosthetic and Sensory Aids Service failed to establish timeliness standards for repairs so IG established a 30-day benchmark for the audit.
The delays were due to predictable failure to “effectively manage and monitor repair requests.” The officials failed to input repair requests and failed to properly track the requests when they were input. Prosthetic Service managers also failed to consistently ensure vendors completed repairs by established delivery dates.
VISN 7 Power Wheelchair Repair Delays Summary
Here is the executive summary from VA OIG:
The VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted this audit at the request of Senator Johnny Isakson who was concerned that delays in the repair of VA-issued power wheelchairs and scooters at the Atlanta VA Health Care System placed veterans at physical and financial risk. To evaluate these concerns, the OIG assessed the timeliness of power wheelchair and scooter repairs at Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 7 VA medical facilities. The OIG confirmed that VISN 7 medical facilities, including the Atlanta VA Health Care System, did not ensure the timely completion of repair. The OIG used a 30-day benchmark to assess timeliness because Prosthetic and Sensory Aids Service does not have a timeliness standard for the completion of repairs. Subsequently, the OIG projected 380 veterans in VISN 7 experienced delays in the completion of approximately 480 repairs in FY 2016. Furthermore, these veterans waited an average of 69 days for their repairs to be completed. These delays occurred because VISN 7 Prosthetic Service managers lacked policies to ensure VA medical facility staff promptly input repair requests and prosthetic service purchasing staff monitored repairs from inception to completion and held vendors accountable for the timely completion of repairs. Although the OIG could not confirm that the delayed power wheelchair and scooter repairs financially impacted veterans, it confirmed that some veterans experienced physical hardships related to the delays. The OIG recommended the VISN 7 Director implement controls to ensure VA medical facility staff: initiate repair consults as soon as repair requests were received; follow consult documentation procedures; monitor and follow up on repairs through completion; and monitor vendors to ensure the completion of repairs by agreed-upon delivery dates. The VISN 7 Director concurred with our report and recommendations and provided an action plan to address the recommendations. The OIG considered the action plan acceptable.
Example: I have a home oxygen concentrator. It became very noisy, so I called prosthetics for a replacement. The Vendor missed two delivery dates and when the “new” unit was delivered it had 16, 700 hours on it. It was noisier than my unit and shook the floor when operating.
AFGE files grievance over VA’s implementation of accountability act
By Nicole Ogrysko
Federal News Radio
March 19, 2018
“The American Federation of Government Employees is filing a grievance against the Veterans Affairs Department for the way the agency is implementing portions of the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act.
AFGE, which represents more than 220,000 VA employees, said the department’s new performance guidance contradicts the collective bargaining agreement it signed with the agency back in 2011.
The union and VA will face an arbitrator during an April hearing to try to resolve the disagreement over the bill’s interpretation.”
Full Article At: “https://federalnewsradio.com/veterans-affairs/2018/03/afge-files-grievance-over-vas-implementation-of-accountability-act/”
In April, wow, so when it’s the union they get to have their case heard in a timely manner, but when it’s a Veteran, wait a few fucking decades, and then, maybe we will reset the circle jerking machine back up……
Noxious chemical smell – first suspected as meth lab – at VA Campus in Menlo Park sickens three workers
by Contributed Content on March 22, 2018
Three people called 911 on Wednesday shortly before noon, reporting that they felt sick after breaking into a locked cabinet inside a second floor apartment. They had been cleaning a one-bedroom apartment of an evicted tenant at a public/private transitional housing project located at 605 Willow Road in Menlo Park at the Veterans Administration (VA) which assists homeless veterans, also known as Willow Housing.
The prior tenant had been evicted the week before, and the three immediately left the apartment once they smelled what they described as chemicals, fearing it could be related to some type of drug lab.
Menlo Fire Engine One and Battalion One treated the three victims, who were feeling much better after exiting the apartment. Battalion Chief Tom Calvert determined from the three workers that they suspected that they could be dealing with some type of suspected potential methamphetamine problem or operation.
Coordinating with staff and Federal Law Enforcement from the VA and Menlo Park Police, Battalion Chief Calvert contacted the San Mateo County Hazardous Materials Response Team to consult with them on a proper approach and mitigation strategy. A full Hazardous Materials deployment response was dispatched that included two more Fire Engines, a Ladder Truck, Hazardous Materials Response Unit, County Environmental Health Unit and the Office of Emergency Services Unit, for a total of 21 First Responders.
Battalion Chief Calvert assisted by Fire Marshal Jon Johnston and Emergency Specialist Michael Ralston, members of the Fire District’s UAS/Drone Team, determined the they could fly one of the Fire Districts DJI Drone Platforms into the apartment unit in advance of the Hazardous Materials Team.”
ya da, ya da ya da …
End result of the call;
“Ultimately, nothing was found but Team Members suspect that cleaning products may have unknowingly been mixed together in waste bags to create a noxious chemical smell. The incident was downgraded, the complex deemed safe and the last unit cleared the scene at 4.36 pm.”
Full Article At: “https://inmenlo.com/2018/03/22/noxious-chemical-smell-first-suspected-as-meth-lab-at-va-campus-in-menlo-park-sickens-three-workers/”
Lawsuit blames VA and Togus doctor for death of World War II vet
By Stephen Betts, The Courier Gazette –
March 22, 2018
“WALDOBORO — A Waldoboro woman has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government and a doctor at the Togus Veterans Administration Medical Center, claiming a change in medication caused the death of her father.
The change was the result of the VA Medical Center’s effort to get all its patients off opioids, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit against Dr. Joseph J. Lienert was filed March 21 in U.S. District Court in Portland by Donna Wallace, who is the personal representative of the estate of her father Douglas Wallace.
“For my client Donna, this is not a lawsuit about money. This is about the VA and holding them accountable,” her attorney, Taylor Asen of Lewiston, said Thursday.
Jim Doherty, a spokesman for the VA healthcare system in Maine, said the Togus VA could not comment on the lawsuit.
Douglas Wallace, a Waldoboro resident, died Sept. 22, 2014, at the age of 90. He had been a veteran of World War II and was onboard a ship that was sunk in the Pacific by a Kamikaze pilot who crashed his plane into the ship.
After the war, Wallace worked various jobs including at Bath Iron Works and building wooden boats.
The lawsuit states that Douglas Wallace was in good health when he went for an appointment on Sept. 2, 2014, to see Lienert at the VA medical center in Chelsea.
Wallace had been taking Vicodin for 40 years for chronic knee pain and was tolerating the medication well, according to the lawsuit.
Lienert discussed the possible risks of opioid use in the elderly and informed Wallace and his daughter, who had accompanied him to the appointment, that the VA was in the process of taking all patients off opioids regardless of their individual reaction to them, the lawsuit further states.
Lienert said he would mail a prescription to Wallace for a new medication. The doctor did not inform them what the medication would be or the risks of the new medication, according to the lawsuit.
On Sept. 8, Wallace received the new prescription — Diclofenac Sodium — and began taking it that day. Diclofenac is a non-steroid, anti-inflammatory drug that can cause ulcers, according to the National Institutes of Health.
On Sept. 19, Wallace passed out without warning and when he regained consciousness he had experienced a bowel movement with bright red blood. He was taken to the emergency department at VA Togus on the following day at which time he was diagnosed with rectal bleeding.
Wallace was transferred that day to Maine General Medical Center in Augusta where he was found to have a bleeding ulcer in his small intestine. The ulcer was cauterized that day.
On Sept. 21, the ulcer began bleeding again and attempts to stop it failed. On Sept. 22, Wallace suffered a heart attack and he died later that afternoon.
The lawsuit claims that switching the medications without considering the risks and benefits, not prescribing medication to protect his gastrointestinal system, and the doctor’s failure to inform Wallace or his daughter about warning signs from Diclofenac were negligent actions.”
Full Article At: “https://www.sunjournal.com/lawsuit-blames-va-and-togus-doctor-for-death-of-world-war-ii-vet/”
Back at the fatty ranch in Florida: (only surprised LaSquishya here, was not an AFGE VA employee…)
“[A 325-pound Florida woman is charged with the murder of a young girl and her big butt is the alleged murder weapon.
The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said 9-year-old Dericka Lindsay was pronounced dead on Saturday afternoon.
According to the police report, the child cried out that she could not breathe as the suspect sat on her.
Paramedics received a cardiac arrest call at a Pensacola home after police say 64-year old Veronica Posey sat on a child as punishment.
The “Pensacola News Journal” reports that before sitting on the child Saturday, Posey beat the girl with a ruler and a metal pipe for ten minutes.
A police report says as Posey was crushing the girl, the victim was crying out, telling Posey she couldn’t breathe.
Posey is facing a murder charge, while the girl’s mother is facing cruelty and neglect charges.]”
Once again, the IG does a spot-check investigation at certain locations into an issue that is easily found at VAs across the nation.
Is this job security for IG inspectors so they can investigate a different VISN in 2 years and find the same problems?
The VA likes to brag about how they provide such great care that is unique to veterans. So unique that the VA just can’t possibly be shut down. I could argue needing prosthetics is rather prevalent among veterans, but the VA can’t even get that done in a timely manner. How the hell are they budgeted for this? Each hospital gets an extra $100k in the Directors slush fund, and if its not spent on a fixed wheel chair or a new prosthetic leg, the director gets new furniture?
There is ZERO excuse for any delays other than stunning incompetence by VA employees. How can they run such a grab-ass operation that they don’t even track repair requests?
Wait times for wheel chairs?
The IG includes some blame for vendors, but I suspect that is bullshit unless the VA is paying in advance for repairs, and the vendors just are not doing their job knowing they already have the money. Otherwise, I suspect a vendor would want to make money and get things repaired fast so they could get paid.
I am SHOCKED that Isakson was awake enough to actually request this investigation. I can only imagine the wheel chair repair vendor also fixes Stairmasters and Isakson is pissed off from being launched off his so many times.
Or he’s up for re-election and needs campaign material.
After reading several posts of views so far, and many agreeing there should be warranty coverage, it begs a few more questions. We all know that these purchases were made in bulk, and every veteran that had to rely on issued tools in service, knows they were likely the pot-metal sort. Were these machines ordered from some one and done, gone out of business entity?
What if, like with some common civvy purchases, the warranties needed to be purchased, and in realizing the what, six figure savings, that option is declined for as Fed up pointed out, their union employees to huff about repairing? That would create a situation very much like we are reading about. Reminds me of the story last year of the way too many TV stored in one facility because they didn’t have the right brackets or some farce.
Plain and simple, the only veterans that are pleased with the status quo, are the ones that do not need anything other than mortgage guarantees/ GI Bill/TriCare usage from VBA/VHA while hanging out at the Hat Club!
All those billions in VA money going to IT and the damn VA can’t even fix a veterans wheelchair! They probably want wheelchair bound vets to go steal a Walmart scooter that’s been used by dozens of Walmart shopper manatees!
I’ve got to share this deduction about VA, and how I came about my conclusion. Most of you may agree, and others, well I expect dissention, and that’s fine.
Most of you already know this, some I knew earlier on, others things came about down the road, especially after reading many articles, and then most of the comments from other Vets, love ones, concerned citizens, advocates in their own right, or caretakers. In some areas of studies, there hasn’t been many comments from Physicians, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Sociologist, or from other professionals, who in their own doings, or because it’s something they study or like, and that is out of the realm of their normal work, there’s not too many individuals from these area’s of study, that post on Ben’s blog.
I say this, because as we know, the VA is a monster. To the point of being so scary, that even some of the Executives can’t tell us exactly where the problems are located. And what bothers me about this, is that this is their business, this is what these people were hired to do, a specific job, and to get the most positive results as possible. And I’m not seeing it, I haven’t seen it all quite frankly.
So, why mention about the professionals at the beginning of your post? Well, I’ve came to the conclusion, that I already know that the VA leadership is a wash, and that I also noticed, and affirmed that many other people aren’t aware of what’s happening inside the VA, and therefore not many people are speaking out because of this. Or, that the people know, but Veterans aren’t honored and respected, as much as they should be.
My point is this, I’ve shared my heart out on this blog, just like many other Vets have. This ticks me off though, and I know it does you, I’m not seeing even what I’d call good results on most of the VA’s operable programs, 1) the lack of managing the programs, 2) how the programs are maintained, and guided to make sure that the program is still operating smoothly, 3) a troubleshooting database with pathways to solve upcoming problems in the programs, 4) how fast the problems are fixed, and so on.
The bottom line is this, the VA is outdated due to its own applications that it has initiated over the years. In my opinion, I don’t believe that the VA fits or is as beneficial as it could be for the best interest of the 21st Century Veteran. The VA to the Veteran is NOT a good fit. It sure seems that the lack of responses from many other professionals, that one’s whose input can possible help the VA, well there’s not many of these individuals that seem to be willing to share. And I’ll tell you why, it’s because the VA is just too complicated, and no one can figure it out.
So, with this being said, why doesn’t the VA just to a restart, but go a new. Start from scratch. Have consultants come in, with the soul purpose in finding, what types of managing applications does the VA need, in order to keep track of all the movement of; Veterans files, services, supplies, manpower, man hours, operational facility costs, power, light, telephone, cell phone bills, and so on.
If this doesn’t work, at least this Vet believes that this is a step in the right direction. Other than this, it’s all futile, all of it.
Nutter….Them fucks that work at the VA in upper management and politicians don’t want to fix problems, They just want to toss money at it so they can get a hand in that good old gift that keeps on giving [ the cookie jar ]…
And speaking of Psychologists I had one tell me long ago when I had a good answer for everything she asked, She got so frustrated with common sense replies she asked me what zodiac sign I was, and told her Taurus and she said no wonder…. Stupid bitch…LOL …Then I had one at the VA and I was bitching about the VA all her answers were maybe they just had a bad day,,,WTF a bad day at every appointment I have, Another overpaid Moron BITCH….LOL….I love fucking with their Heads,
Absolutely there needs to be a reckoning, an accounting of these professionals, they need to be called out, front and center, and give an accounting to us, the veterans. I didn’t know our universities were capable of producing such indoctrinated compliant drones, but i do now.
These professional folks aren’t about to blow their 6figs over a veterans issue(s). The young ones have a contract to have all/most of their student loans paid off while cowing to that VISN’s malarkey. The middles are paying their personal stuff and the near done are banking easy retirement funds. Count on all of them enjoying no accountability/malpractice expense and there it is, the perfect storm.
These powered motor scooters and wheel chairs should be maintained by an out scoured company who can accomplish what the VA fails to do, even if the motorized equipment is still under warranty the manufacturer should have loaners to accommodate the veterans until their equipment gets repaired
What’s ridiculous Is because they don’t care. How many scooters does the VA buy? It’s a lot. I guarantee you that all they need to do is ask the company to come and will repair right there. It’s extremely simple, the number one thing that goes bad is batteries and then some stupid crap. In the real world they would send one guy to take a training course and would do emergency repairs. But since they would scream holy hell to the union saying not my job. I know there are contractors in every area that if set up would come at least once a month and two if said would get scooters elsewhere and could have 2-3 loaners for any that parts needed to be ordered.
Since it’s no one’s job and management is too stupid to care, this happens. For one reason only. If you called the DAV, Legion and rest? They usually have 5-6 hanging around from being donated from vets that don’t use anymore. Then would only need to be picked up. But who would do that. It’s management not managing, who cares fire people. If come back fire again and again until solved. It nothing but laziness and lack of caring. Fuck them, I’m about to lose it and go ballistic.
Agreed. I can’t imagine why, if the VA does not have maintenance and repair capability in-house, why they do not have a contract with the same vendor to do like you said…come in once or twice a month for that.
You also mention training. Every prosthetics department appears to have veterans working in it, or some clerk that doesn’t know shit from shinola. I believe they want to do right, but may not have the training (or authority) to actually do maintenance and repairs, so they act as supply clerks. I also believe it is a low paid job (why else allow veterans to have the job) but it is above what a janitor might make.
I don’t know if they still have the positions, but at one time, the VA had a position called a Bio-Medical Technician position. That was the person who repaired, calibrated or maintained much of the hospitals medical equipment. Mostly veterans were Bio-Med Techs because the Army used to offer a year long school for it in Denver. I suspect all of that is farmed out to contractors now.
My point is, I don’t see why the VA does not have trained technicians on staff for that. Given how many vets are without prosthetics, wheel chairs or scooters, you would think there would be enough work to justify it.
I suspect the VA decided they didn’t want to spend the money on training.
When I was going to PT a couple three years ago, there was a separate section in the PT clinic behind a curtain. There were many boxes of wheel chairs, scooters or other PT equipment behind the curtain. It sat there untouched for months.
Time for my SSDI crazy check appointment. Funny how after applying for both SSDI and VA comp 4 years later I’m still waiting on the fucking VA to get it’s shit together.
From the movie “Cool Hand Luke”
“What we have here, is a failure to communicate”
Yeah I know, understatement of the year!!
Later Gators -!ii!-
This out from: “military.com” via “Stars and Stripes”
By: Nikki Wentling
Dated: 22 Mar 2018
“VA Reforms Removed from Massive Spending Bill.”
From the article;
Quote: “When Congress unveiled its $1.3 Trillion, 2,232 – page bill Wednesday evening, the VA reforms had been omitted.”
“House democrats were opposed to the deal!”
The two main objections were the “Choice Program” and the “Caregivers Program”!
So, in my opinion, veterans are being treated worse than illegal immigrants! They get the best of everything, while veterans are thrown out with the dirty bath water!
There it is. Not close enough to the midterm election. Those fine patriot flag waving Bible thumping GOP who, lest anyone forget, control the House, the Senate and well – sort of the Executive branches of gubmint made a calculated decision that they can once again wipe their feet on the backs of “America’s finest, bravest blah blah blah”. And of course, the Dems also made a calculated decision to not mention it. But they’ll damned well use it in the mid-terms.
In my opinion, many in our government – elected and appointed officials nationwide – feel as though they have “Hereditary Right to Rule” over “We the [Common] People”!
It’s only going to stop once “We the People” return our ‘Constitutional Republic’ BACK to the people!
Of course, this will mean:
1.) possible civil war, and –
2.) Much hardship on “We the People”!
That being said;
Only about a third of the people in America don’t see the President, or our Congress, or our State, County and City representatives working FOR “We the People”! They see these individuals only working to enrich themselves on the backs of “We the People!”
Another one third see our government, same groups as above, working FOR them. This group, sad to say, are those who receive FREE shit. Or, are so well off financially their happy the way things are!
The last one third group. Well, they could care less which way the shit happens!
I say this because, this is exactly how it was on July 4, 1776, when our Continental Congress signed the “Declaration of Independence”!
(This is not a declaration of using force of any kind!)
Sorry—dislexic fingers FRAUD is rampnt…
Follow the money. Gurentee it’s going into someone’s pocket. Fruas is SOOOOO rampntr in the VA.
You know damn well, taxpayers monies are going into someone’s pocket at the VA. It damn sure ain’t going to the veterans: ie: healthcare, education and compensation to help veterans with a better life!
Benjamin’s article today is primarily speaking of motorized wheelchairs and scooters but I cannot tell you how many times *each year* in just my State alone, local news, feel-good stories tossed into the mix of serial carjackers/rapists/murdering scum of earth, they will toss a feel-good Veteran story and guess what?
These have been local *neighborhood citizens*, local charities, or even home building supply franchise owners…DOING WHAT THE VA FAILS AT…and that has been Veterans waiting on new, operable old-school analog, manual wheelchairs…then there’s the countless wheelchair ramps locals make for FREE…because any given Veteran has already waited, bedridden, perhaps months or years, relying on others to get around or those same others to do THE RIGHT THING and assist Veterans.
Where’s the oinking backwater backroom deal piggy’s at to where they ignore the cries of Vets? OH THAT’s RIGHT…the piggy’s are in D.C. Main Swamp making backwater backroom deals while Veterans are still….waiting?!!!!
Then you go to any given VAMC/VHA in USA and you will see any number of AFGE finest filling motorized scooters simply because they are MORBIDLY OBESE…no issue getting Boeing to keep repairing the wheels on the AFGE wheelchair fattymobiles….why?….Boeing utilized same landing gear as B2 Bomber on those fattymobiles….and the tech will eventually trickledown to we lowly Vets.
Watch your step at the VA because that trickle of lard can tickle you dead.
Locally we don’t get any real news or more important news. Local fuzz even had local scanners silenced that could be used on the net, not now. Just more control of information and censoring. We do get plenty of animal stories, fluff, news about some other country, liberal or college stuff, and sports, that’s it.
A small out of town group has a list for those free ramps but it’s for everyone and they only do so many per year. Can’t remember the limit but it’s not that many for the need.
With all the minds, capabilities, wasted money this country or government has and it can’t fix the smallest, simple, or most important country ruining issues of the day? BS. Simple fixes from a hick/townie in the communist occupied sticks:
The VA or the lousy scum sucker VSOs could easily contract out or volunteer to build ramps. I am told those new aluminum adjustable ramps are fairly easy to put up and lasts. Cutting Congressional special health care and special clinics would pay for a lot of that alone. Or cutting out a bunch of useless White House staff or some big government agency waste of dollars.
When driving fork trucks, cherry pickers, material handling, they had companies in the quick time come out and do repairs or lease out other equipment until the others were repaired. When the contracted fork truck and equipment people would show up in their vans or large trucks they could fix and replace a large number of issues. If parts were needed they had scattered warehouses they could run back to or have runners bring the parts out to them in the ‘quick time.’ They give hot-shots, politicians, MDs, loaned out vehicles while their Porches, Jaguars, Mercedes, and the like are being fixed or cleaned.
(News break! Liar Trump puts in another deep-state old swamp monster, war monger (like Nikki Haley), Zio John Bolton, Boosh buddy. Circus Maximus. Way to go Trumpster you idiot. Stop.) Barffffff.
Now, if they can do that for say heavy fork trucks in industry or some small company those great minds and with money to lose can do about the same thing for home bound vets or those in fast need for such repairs, loans or builds. Just seems like a simple fix to me.
Plumbers can pull up with a trailer and plumb.
Contractors can pull up with a trailer and build a house, ground up.
Contractors can pull up in a small foreign made care, with love like Subaru (with UNION PROUD stickers), suitcase/cell in hand, high heels, shiny shoes, lap top, and totally ruin a CBOC or network to ruin a veteran’s life, cherry pick who to see who gets just what and how fast. Go figure.
I wonder IF this is one of those situations where VA employees hope the veteran will take care of the situation on his or her own!?!?
You know, spend their own time and monies to make the repairs, subsequently making VA employees look good. So, the VA employees can receive their Bonuses!
For several decades, airports have used employee driven carts to handle transporting throughout their mazes. Is that too elementary a solution for VHA to consider?
Coffee was still brewing! I forgot to add …within the facilities. The issued scooters should be under manufacturer warranty for a period where they should be providing repairs.
Whenever someone writes a “common sense solution” to VA’s boondoggle, I have to remind them, your asking VA to use “common sense!”
That would also require the VA to read and follow instructions. With that said, the VA currently consistently fail at following proper sanitizing procedures of simply placing used medical supplies into the autoclave, set, and forget.
Too much work for an engorged purple team member, plus those long ass fingernails get in the way of pushing buttons….
In a MOO…d, this morning.
Rosie, you are correct about warranty repairs.
But this is the VA.
I suspect anything the VA uses or issues such as a motorized scooter has sat in a closet long enough for any warranty to expire before it is issued.
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